Sunday Walk Through the Woods

Well it’s winter time and snowy outside so this past Sunday the family and I decided to take an afternoon walk. I decided we would try out a nature trail at a local park. Just south of town is Brown’s Memorial Park, so we headed out. Never would I have thought we would learn as much as we did about this park.

Upon arriving at the trail there is an information sign showing what the park used to look like.
042
I would have never guessed there was so much water in this park.

View of the overall area
View of the overall area

The story below the sign is as follows.
“The Brown Memorial Park

Abilene, Ks had one of the most unique park and playground projects in the United States. C.L. Brown, public utility operator and philanthropist, provided from his own funds a most extensive and complete recreation center. The result of carefull planning is show in the transformation of a river farm, on which Brown’s parents had settled in the pioneer days, into “the Central Kansas Playground”. Brown Memorial Park was opened to the public in the summer of 1927, the first phase of a ten-year project.

This unique project provided facilities for diversified recreation without charge. There was a fleet of 40 rowboats and four motor launches on the one-mile lake. There was a bathing beach, a kiddie’s pool, a zoo with elk, buffalo, bears, and coyotes, supervised boys and girls camps, extensive picnic grounds, a nine-hole golf course and many landscaped areas. Several media sources reported an average of 250,000 visitors per year. An August 8, 1932 article reported some 17,000 visitors from 41 counties in Kansas and 12 different states the previous Sunday.

Due to the Depression, the death of C.L. Brown and other factors that led to the crumble of the wide-spread utilities and business empire that helped fund it, the magnificent Park operation had to be drastically curtailed in 1935. There were insufficient funds being generated to keep the amusement and recreation phases operating on anything like the former scale. The zoo gradually disappeared, the lake dried up and the golf course, where many Abilene residents learned the game, reverted back to pasture.”

On down the trail we went, the first thing you come to is an old stone bridge.

Stone Bridge
Stone Bridge

Shortly after that you come to what was the Bear Cages.

Bruno, a brown bear who had been a big drawing card at Brown's Park, was joined by two black bears and two cinnamon bears in June, 1932. All five bruins occupied the bear pit that was constructed in the winter of 1931. All were fully grown and there was a real competition for the popcorn, candy and peanuts that visitors tossed into the den.
Bruno, a brown bear who had been a big drawing card at Brown’s Park, was joined by two black bears and two cinnamon bears in June, 1932. All five bruins occupied the bear pit that was constructed in the winter of 1931. All were fully grown and there was a real competition for the popcorn, candy and peanuts that visitors tossed into the den.

The Bear Cage 2013 condition.

Just a little ways down from the Bear Cage is whats left of a small waterfall.

A waterfall is used as a backdrop for this Sea Scout picture. Stones from the area were used to construct the waterfall. This was a part of the landscaping phase of the proposed ten-year project.
A waterfall is used as a backdrop for this Sea Scout picture. Stones from the area were used to construct the waterfall. This was a part of the landscaping phase of the proposed ten-year project.

The waterfall is still in good shape.
The waterfall is still in good shape.

Across from the waterfall is what I am guessing would have been the pond that the waterfall ran into.
Waterfall Pond
Waterfall Pond

My girls at the top of the waterfall.
My girls at the top of the waterfall.

The last sign we came up to was about a ship that was built on for the Sea Scouts to train on.

Sea Scout Ship
Sea Scout Ship

Until that day I had never even heard of the Sea Scouts.

On the way back to the car the trail lead us next to a small creek. As you can see there is a lot of raccoons and other animals running around the park.

Thin ice
Thin ice

It was pretty cold so we didn’t see much other than a couple squirrels.

It amazes me that there was once such a large place right near our small community. Hopefully everyone will get out and explore their area and learn something new.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s